These 4 Reporters Got Ratioed Into Oblivion for Tweeting About Biden’s Xavier Becerra Mispronunciation
Several reporters faced fierce backlash when they tweeted about President-elect Joe Biden’s quickly-corrected mispronunciation of Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Xavier Becerra’s last name as he was announcing the appointment.
On Tuesday afternoon, President-elect Biden held a press conference to announce members of his incoming administration’s health team, including Becerra. As he delivered his opening remarks, Biden announced the selection of Becerra, mispronouncing his name before quickly correcting himself, and listed his accomplishments and qualifications.
That moment was memorialized in tweets from many reporters, but four in particular sparked a blizzard of reactions.
ABC News political reporter Johnny Verhovek wrote “Biden mispronounces the last name of his HHS nominee, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra,” and added “He then quickly corrected himself.”
Biden mispronounces the last name of his HHS nominee, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra
He then quickly corrected himself
— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) December 8, 2020
Verhovek’s rather anodyne recounting of the moment achieved a 4-to-1 ratio of replies to likes, but with the lowest volume of responses of the lot.
The Daily Beast‘s Sam Stein was about even with Verhovek ratio-wise, but with ten times the volume for his tweet, which read “Oooof. Biden says Xavier BACK-A-Ria. Before correcting himself.”
Oooof. Biden says Xavier BACK-A-Ria. Before correcting himself.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) December 8, 2020
Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire wrote “Biden rather incorrectly pronounces ‘Becerra’ as he introduces his new HHS pick,” and achieved a 7-to-1 ratio with over 8,000 replies and quote-tweets.
Biden rather incorrectly pronounces “Becerra” as he introduces his new HHS pick
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) December 8, 2020
And The Washington Post‘s Seung Min Kim had by far the most responses at over 10,000 and a more than 4-to-1 ratio for tweeting “Biden botches the pronunciation of “Becerra” as he introduces his pick to lead HHS.”
Biden botches the pronunciation of “Becerra” as he introduces his pick to lead HHS
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) December 8, 2020
There were several themes to the criticism, among them the many gaffes and other more serious actions of President Donald Trump, the president-elect’s well-documented struggle with a speech impediment, the more pressing issues facing the country, and a general weariness with less-than-substantive coverage.
My dad stutters. You should be ashamed of yourself. Delete this tweet.
— Andrew van der Stock (@vanderaj) December 9, 2020
Stay classy, ma’am.
— Dave Hogg (@stareagle) December 9, 2020
Can’t resist joining the ratio, Sam.
Come on – you’re better than this.
— Mollie Katzen (@MollieKatzen) December 8, 2020
He has a stutter. This is known. Please do better.
— Alisha Grauso ? (@AlishaGrauso) December 9, 2020
Um…seriously? Who gives a shit?
— Charles #GetCovered-ba (@charles_gaba) December 8, 2020
Trump continues to assault or Democracy, God knows how many people Rudy gave #COVID19 too but heaven forbid Biden miss pronounces a word.
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) December 9, 2020
Is this news?
— Rick G. Rosner (@dumbassgenius) December 8, 2020
— Richard Cheese?New 2020 Album On Sale Now!? (@RichardCheese) December 8, 2020
…As introducing the first Latino to head up HHS – he said his name wrong. Bring back the other guy, cages are better than whatever this is.
*blink* because I know y’all need drama, sh*t happens. Yes, I’d usually tweet LOL he said it wrong. But not necessary – it’s ok to win. https://t.co/3uhRnklb0Y
— Astrid Silva (@Astrid_NV) December 9, 2020
You’re a reporter?
— Elayne Nasty Woman Boosler (@ElayneBoosler) December 8, 2020
This is pathetic, Jon.
— John de Guzmán (@johndeguzman) December 9, 2020
Wow, the next four years are going to be fun. Trump lies, cheats, mismanages, treasons, encourages sedition… but let’s hear about his tone, his mood, the thoughts of his supporters.
Biden mispronounces a name, and it’s the End Times. Talk about grading on a fucking curve. https://t.co/yWc4twajfD
— Michael Marshall Smith (@ememess) December 8, 2020
“There are faux pas on both sides.”
— Rob Anderson for Louisiana (@RobAnderson2018) December 8, 2020
Donald separated nursing mothers from their children and then he caged the children. https://t.co/As8IviD8Si
— Kimberley Johnson (@AuthorKimberley) December 8, 2020
How are so many journalists actually reporting on this? On what planet does this rise to the quality of “news”? https://t.co/JavTarceDb
— Dennis DiClaudio (@dennisdiclaudio) December 8, 2020
theyre going to be deathly bored under biden. the trump show is ending. so its time to elevate all kinds of nonsense to a national scandal. https://t.co/olyuyhTTsI
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) December 8, 2020
More than a quarter million Americans are dead in a pandemic that is being completely ignored at the federal level, and it’s going to get much worse. But yeah, Biden said a name wrong before correcting himself. Thanks so much for your laser focus, Sam. https://t.co/mZ99x2hGQS
— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) December 8, 2020
So what? https://t.co/sRJewnrObm
— Michael Hiltzik (@hiltzikm) December 9, 2020
The reactions to even relatively minor mentions of the flub reflect a palpably gun-shy section of the Twitterverse that has been critical of journalists who have spent four years normalizing Trump, and whom they now fully expect to pick Biden apart at every opportunity.
It’s also worth noting that while Kim and Lemire each have less than half as many as followers as Stein — whose tweet was the most critical of Biden, but who has long been a fixture in progressive media — they bore the brunt of the backlash.
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